Landmine Lateral Raise

Best Way to Do This Exercise for Side Delts

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: April 14, 2023

The lateral raise is one of the only exercises to specifically target the sides of your shoulders. So it’s always important to include a lateral raise movement in your shoulder training.

However, doing the same old lateral raise exercises gets old fast. And the landmine provides a unique variation to mix up your workouts while blasting your shoulders.

So I will show you the best way to do the landmine lateral raise with detailed instructions, pictures, and a short video.

Landmine Lateral Raise

What Is a Landmine Lateral Raise?

Lateral raises are a shoulder exercise where you lift a dumbbell or cable to the side while keeping your arms relatively straight. But you can also do lateral raises with a landmine apparatus.

A landmine is a sturdy base or attachment that turns a barbell into a pivoting lever. And this equipment allows you to do many uncommon exercises, such as landmine lateral raises.

Landmine Lateral Raise Muscles Worked

As the name suggests, lateral raises primarily target the lateral deltoid on the side of your shoulder. But they also work the front (anterior) delts and rear (posterior) to an extent.

In addition, the top end of the range of motion also incorporates the upper trapezius or trap muscles. And you may feel some muscle activation in your upper back as well.

Landmine Lateral Raise Muscles Worked

Landmine Lateral Raise Benefits & Limitations

One advantage of the landmine lateral raise is that it’s a free-weight movement, which is best for improving functional strength that translates to real-world power.

But the landmine also dictates the movement path due to the anchored end. So it’s like a mix between the fixed movement path of a machine and the freedom of free weights.

When done correctly, the barbell also guides your hand into the ideal position for activating your side delt.

However, the downside is that even the empty bar is pretty heavy for this exercise. And it may not be light enough for some beginner to intermediate lifters.


  • Free weight exercise good for strength
  • Somewhat fixed movement path
  • Perfect hand position


  • It can be too heavy for beginners

How To Do Landmine Lateral Raise

Setting up the landmine lateral raise is trickier than other free-weight or machine variations. So let me start by showing you what not to do.

The Wrong Way to Do The Landmine Lateral Raise

First, I don’t recommend standing for this exercise variation. The reason is that this puts the bar’s pivot point too far below your shoulder joint and makes your arm arc awkwardly forward during the movement.

Second, you should not stand with the bar across your thighs. With this body position, your arm starts pronated and ends supinated, so you use more rear delt in the exercise.

The illustration below shows you the wrong way to do landmine lateral raises. Again, I do not recommend doing the exercise this way!

Landmine Lateral Raise Wrong Way

The Right Way to Do The Landmine Lateral Raise

The best way to do the landmine lateral raise is in a kneeling position with the bar at your side.

First, kneel down facing the landmine with the free end of the barbell beside your legs. Then grab the barbell sleeve with your palm facing your thigh and your arm hanging by your side.

From this starting position, lift the barbell away from your body while keeping your arm relatively straight. Raise until your hand reaches just above shoulder level. Then lower it back down in a controlled manner.

Your arm will move through a gradual arc forward as you raise the bar. Repeat this motion for the desired reps before setting the barbell down.

Here is how to do a landmine lateral raise step-by-step:

  1. Kneel facing the landmine with the bar on one side
  2. Hold the bar sleeve with palm facing in
  3. Raise the bar to shoulder level while keeping your arm relatively straight
  4. Lower it back to your side in a controlled manner
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps

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Landmine Lateral Raise Form

The description and video above should give you a good idea of how to do landmine lateral raises correctly. But here are a few more tips to help you get the most out of the exercise.

First, align your hips directly below your shoulders before performing the movement. You don’t want your legs to be too far forward or back.

Next, ensure you’re holding the sleeve part of the bar and not the shaft. And you can even move further out so you’re holding the end of the sleeve.

Remember, the further you are from the landmine, the more leverage you have. Also, the radius created by the bar is the largest at the end, making it a more natural movement path.

Finally, you’ll notice that your hand tilts forward in pronation as you get to the top. Some studies suggest that rotating your thumb down, as if pouring out a glass of water, is the best way to isolate your lateral delt.

Landmine Lateral Raise Form

Landmine Lateral Raise Alternatives

Of course, you don’t need to use a landmine to do the lateral raise exercise. So I will show you how to do lateral raises with whatever equipment you have.

Dumbbell Seated Lateral Raise

Probably the most common way to perform the lateral raise exercise is with dumbbells. This variation allows you to perform the movement with both arms simultaneously, saving time and balancing your core.

Additionally, seated lateral raises eliminate momentum from your legs. So this exercise is an excellent alternative to the kneeling landmine lateral raise.

Cable Lateral Raise

Another option is the cable lateral raise. Typically, this is a unilateral or single-arm movement, but you could do this exercise with both arms if you cross them in front of you.

In addition, the cables keep more tension on your lateral deltoid throughout the range of motion. And you have additional options, such as the behind-the-back variation.

Machine Lateral Raise

Many gyms have a lateral raise machine which is specifically designed for this exercise. With this variation, the movement path is controlled so you can focus on squeezing your side delts.

In addition, the machine lateral raise is excellent for incorporating intensity techniques like drop sets.

Lateral Delt Exercises - Machine Lateral Raise

Resistance Band Lateral Raise

Finally, you can also perform lateral raises with a basic resistance band. Just stand in the center of the band and grab a handle in each hand. Then perform the lateral raise as you would with cables.

The downside of this variation is that there is very little resistance at the bottom of the movement.

Related: 11 Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises

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More Shoulder Exercises

Some types of lateral raises should be a part of your shoulder training regimen. But to build truly three-dimensional boulder shoulders, you must also include front and rear delts exercises.

So here are some additional articles you can use to build your complete shoulder workout program.

23 Front Delt Exercises

Best Side Delt Exercises for Wider Shoulders

Top Exercises for Rear Delts

17 Cable Shoulder Exercises

Compound Shoulder Exercises for Strength & Size

9 Best Landmine Shoulder Exercises

With this information, you’re well on your way to building bigger shoulders. And if you found this article useful, I hope you’ll check out some of my other informative content below!

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By |April 14, 2023|Workouts|0 Comments
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